Newly-appointed General Manager of the Westin Cape Town, Leon Meyer believes that a business’s success depends largely on how well employers treat staff. It is this respect, together with listening skills, that are key to making it in the demanding and ever-evolving hospitality sector.

“The answer to achieving success is simple – treat staff with the utmost respect, keep them motivated and encourage them to always put their best foot forward. If everyone the world over can get this right, the foundation will be solid and the business will thrive. In our industry, if we respect and listen to each other, we will do the same for our guests, which means they will keep coming back to our hotel,” says Meyer.

Durban-born, Leon has held senior positions at hotel groups such as Sun International and African Pride, as well as spending time on three international cruise liners between 2000 and 2007. “It was a fascinating experience, but I missed my family and I made the decision to come back home – there’s no place like home,” he says.

Originally pursuing law, Meyer is thankful that he chose hotel management instead of a legal career. “I believe that this industry ‘chose’ me. And I love everything about it, especially the people. Every day, I get to spend time with people from all corners of the world. I get to learn about new cultures and traditions, which is the ultimate reward,” says Meyer.